Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1 Sam 14

So a couple things stood out to me about this chapter. First of all... Jonathan did something I am very much not comfortable with: "god if this happens, then it means yes, but if this happens, it means no." it's not that I don't think that god can't speak to us when we set up a dichotomistic choice like that, but how does one know it's a fair thing to do? How do I know I'm not just stacking the deck in my favor if I so something like that? "god if the pastor looks right at me during the altar call and sings the third stanza of the star spangled banner, then I know you want me to respond. Otherwise, you don't." an extreme example, yes, but I think you get the point?

Is this something that we should be doing today as Christians? I mean, maybe it was different for Jonathan back then because he didn't have the holy spirit? (see also: casting lots to determine guilt) But speaking of the holy spirit... How do you even know if it is really god speaking to you, and not just your self? Or worse, an "unclean spirit". (pardon my christianese) yes, I know that we can learn what god's voice sounds like, or what he would say by being familiar with what he says in the bible. But when it comes down to it, we read the bible through the lens of our mind, and that can skew god's written word as much as his spoken (verbal or nonverbal) word.

I'm not saying we can't know what god is saying to us, because there have been a few times that I've really *known*... It's just all those other times that confuse me.

The next thing... Saul had to take roll of his men to learn that his son was missing. What kind of a father is that?! Dang. I hope I never have to do that. I'm betting that Jonathan was a young man at this time, because he led an army, but I doubt he was over 20. Probably 15 or 16 as an upper age limit. So it's not like Saul took his t ball son along with him to work (war) and lost him... But still, dad... Keep an eye on your kid! If you die, he's next in line man!

And then he made a stupid oath, based on a stupid rule that he made. Strange that he mentioned his son's name in it. After "losing" him was be trying to get, rid of him? Or did he feel like he was shown up and he wanted to get rid of him? Or was it just a proof that he was really serious? If it was, then why did he divide the groups into him and Jonathan, then the rest ofnthe people? Did he know? Surely he must have known Jonathan didn't hear the stupid command, he just took role and found him to be missing. The whole thing just seems fishy too me.

Lastly, he doesn't keep the oath that he made. Why? And why doesn't he get in trouble for it either? I mean, the people sin by eating meat without draining the blood, and then Jonathan is the one the dice point at because he broke a stupid rule that his dad made that he didn't know about! Surely the people sinned more than Jonathan. Surely Saul sinned worse than Jonathan because of the stupid rule he made that endangered the lives of his men. I mean come on, I don't think that skipping meals is a good recipe for success if you want to beat down a foe who is more BA than you. Yet it's Jonathan who the finger is pointed at instead of either of the other two groups.

And then! Then! Saul allows himself to be persuaded by the people not to kill Jonathan! Saul breaks his own stupid oath by not killing his kid who broke his own stupid rule unknowingly. Wow. Too much stupidity for me.

But on the other hand... What if god's hand was in this after all? What if god knew that David would need Jonathan, and it so he just worked out the best way to keep him alive? What lessons are there to be learned from this dysfunctional family and king?

God is with those who seek him. God has a plan that stupid people can't thwart? Maybe because he knew that the philistines were more screwed up than then the israelites, god decided to overlook their sins to kick some bad guy hiney? Idunno, I don't get why god does what he does a lot of the time. Why did he even give the Israelites what they wanted (a king) if he was just going to be a screwup anyway? Why does he entrust screwup Christians, like me, to do his will anyway?

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